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The Motherboard Is the Main Circuit Board of a Microcomputer

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January 28, 2005

The motherboard is the main circuit board of a microcomputer. The motherboard contains the connectors for attaching additional boards. Typically, the motherboard contains the CPU, BIOS, memory, mass storage interfaces, serial and parallel ports, expansion slots, and all the controllers required to control standard peripheral devices, such as the display screen, keyboard, and disk drive. Collectively, all these chips that reside on the motherboard are known as the motherboard's chipset. On most PCs, it is possible to add memory chips directly to the motherboard. You may also be able to upgrade to a faster CP by replacing the CPU chip. To add additional core features, you may need to replace the motherboard entirely. (Glossary)

"Also known as the logic board, main board, or computer board, the motherboard is the computer's main board and in most cases holds all CPU, memory, and I/O functions or has expansion slots for them". (Kingston)

The motherboard is the most important part of your computer. It is also one of the most compared, critiqued, and reviewed pieces of hardware. Often, on the internet, you'll find reviews and debates over which board is best or which chipset is best. The chipset controls the system and its capabilities. It is the hub of all data transfer. It is a series of chips on the motherboard, easily identified as the largest chips on the board with the exception of the CPU. Chip sets are integrated, meaning they are soldered onto the board.

All data must go through the chipset. All components communicate to the CPU through the chipset. To make sense out of all this data, the chipset makes use of the DMA controller and the bus controller.

Since chipsets are so important and have to know how to communicate with all components, they must be designed for your configuration and CPU. The chipset maker needs to keep up with BIOS and memory makers, since all of these parts work together and the chipset is the hub of it all.

A chipset is designed by the manufacturer to work with a specific set of processors. Most chipsets only support one generation of processors: most chipsets are geared specifically for 486 type systems, Pentium class systems, or Pentium Pro / Pentium II systems. The design of the control circuitry must be different for each processor generation due to the different ways they employ



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